WASHINGTON — Former President Richard M. Nixon, trying "to do his part to help" cut the federal deficit, will drop the Secret Service protection that he is entitled to for life, an aide said Tuesday.
The move will save taxpayers an estimated $3 million a year, and Nixon will hire private bodyguards, a spokesman said. He will be the first former President to end federal protection.
"President Nixon for some time has been deeply concerned about the deficit ans wants to do his part to help," John Taylor, a Nixon spokesman, said.
Nixon, 72, sent a hand-delivered letter to Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III on March 8, saying that he was "declining Secret Service protection from now on," Taylor said.
Treasury Secretary Grants Request
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said that the Treasury Department, which oversees the Secret Service, "indicated to us this morning that the secretary of the Treasure has granted Mr. Nixon's request to discontinue his Secret Service protection."
The Secret Service said that it will study his security needs before phasing out Nixon's protection in "some months."
At Nixon's request, the Secret Service dropped protection for his wife, Pat, last year.
Nixon, who resigned from office in 1974 during the Watergate scandal, lives in a 15-room, $1.25-million mansion in Upper Saddle River, N.J. an exclusive community about 20 miles northwest of New York City. In addition to income from books he has written, Nixon draws a substantial federal pension for his combined military service, time in Congress and tenure as vice president and President.